My drains keep getting blocked

Blocked drains are a real inconvenience, and - let’s be honest - aren’t pretty.

Sometimes it’s as simple as standing in an inch of water in the shower, while other times it’s as serious as an overflowing sink. 

Most households will come across blocked drains at one point or another. They’re usually caused by a foreign object, congealing oil and grease, or even just a build-up of hair. If a clogged drain is left unattended, the problem can get much worse, causing bad odours, damage to your home, and even potential health implications. A lot of the time, you can fix the problem yourself, but occasionally, you’ll need to call in the experts.

Below we’ll look at five frequent causes of blocked drains, and how to go about getting them sorted. Don’t forget; when the DIY solutions aren’t doing the trick, our Local Heroes are on hand to help you fix the problem for good.

If you have little hands in your home, you know how much they like to give their toys a ‘bath’ - often in the toilet. From children’s toys to shampoo bottles and sanitary items, objects that can be dropped down the toilet often cause blockages. Nappies and baby wipes are also common culprits, and these are more problematic because they expand when wet and can cause damage to the environment. If the item is small, a plunger should be able to dislodge most household blockages, and if it’s degradable a chemical drain cleaner could clear it. Otherwise, you may have to call a Plumber or Drainage Engineer to retrieve the errant item and get your drains back in good working order.

It’s easy to accidentally wash away food scraps and grease along with the dishwater, but these can create a blockage in your kitchen, especially if they build up over time. Fatty substances like oil, margarine and olive oil are particularly problematic because they harden when cooled and tend to stick to the inside of the pipes, eventually stopping water from passing through. It’s best to wipe down pans with kitchen towel before washing them, and dispose of liquid fats in a sealable vessel, like a bottle or jar. Some recycling centres will accept used fats, but you’ll need to contact them to make sure. Chemical cleaning fluids will often clear this type of blockage, but if they’re not fixing the problem fully, it’s best to call for professional help.

Eventually, most houses will suffer a blocked drain because of hair build-up. It usually happens in the shower, where we wash our hair, or in a bathroom sink, where we tend to get ready in the mornings. As always, prevention is better than a cure; drain catchers can be bought cheaply, and if you see hair building up around a plug, lift it out by hand. You can also try your luck with a bent wire hanger, but this can be tricky. If the hair has built up in the pipe itself, and you can’t access it, you can try to clear it with a chemical drain cleaner. Be careful to read the instructions carefully, as the chemicals are quite powerful and can make the problem worse if used incorrectly. If they’re not doing the trick, you’ll need to call a Drainage Engineer to get the problem solved properly.

The weather in Ireland is notoriously unpredictable, and it only takes one windy night to cover your garden in a blanket of leaves, branches and dirt. Natural debris like this can create real hassle when it gets into your drains, especially as it builds up and becomes impacted. It’s not the easiest task - especially in bad weather - but sweeping regularly helps to keep the problem at bay. This is especially important if heavy rains are due, as there’s an increased risk of flooding if drains are blocked. Also, some types of trees - like willow and oak - are known for being so thirsty that they’ll grow into drains, even going into pipes under your home. If you find this is happening, water them regularly or consider setting up a sprinkler to keep them satisfied. If it’s too late and your outdoor drains are already blocked, a Drainage Engineer can clear the blockage and provide long-term pipe repair solutions. 

Most of the time, we don’t see our water pipes; they’re usually tucked away underneath the counter or buried beneath our homes. Out of sight, out of mind - until something goes wrong. Pipes can break down due to wear and tear, tree roots or poor installation. If the pipes weren’t laid properly, blockages can quickly occur. If they’re inside the house, you might see tell-tale staining on a wall or ceiling, but for the most part, it’s difficult to diagnose a faulty pipe, as they can be hard to access. This is a job for a professional Plumber, who will have specialist leak detection equipment and plenty of experience dealing with this problem. 

Blocked drains can be very frustrating, creating a major inconvenience in our busy lives. If you’re dealing with a persistent or recurring blocked drain, don’t leave it any longer - get an expert to take a look. Over the years, we’ve built up a network of trusted Drainage Engineers. They’ve seen it all, from toys in the toilet to spaghetti in the sink. 

Booking an appointment is easy - just head over to the Local Heroes website and click on the expertise you need. You’ll get an average price straight away and we even guarantee the Local Hero’s work for 12 months - we’re that confident in their professional qualifications and high standards. They’ll visit your home, clear your drains and get the problem sorted for once and for all, so you can put the plunger away at last.

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  • Drains repair: Local Heroes, a Bord Gáis Energy innovation, can connect you to a vetted and trusted Drainage engineer to complete the work you need.
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